The House of Hope food pantry has unveiled a new website to help with emergency referrals and to better distribute information.

The website is The site includes information on the churches involved in House of Hope and the hours of operations.

John Bush, who serves on the pantry board of directors, provided an update on the pantry and the website at the monthly Clearinghouse Project meeting Tuesday morning.

Bush said last month the pantry had to close twice because of weather. Throughout January, he said the pantry served 440 households - 177 of which were new families.

In addition, volunteers donated 930 hours in January. Bush said an "encouraging" statistic is that 30 of the pantry clients regularly work as volunteers.

The House of Hope will hold volunteer training sessions Monday at 10 a.m., Feb. 26 at 6 p.m., March 3 at 10 a.m. and March 19 at 6 p.m.

In other business:

• The Jefferson County United Way will hold its "Getting Ahead In a Just Getting By World" program March 3.

Larry Cummins, the local United Way director of community outreach, said the program has just three referrals at this time. He said they would need at least 10 or 12 to make it worth going forward.

The Getting Ahead program is designed to help those living in poverty develop a path toward financial stability.

If no more referrals come in by March 3, Cummins said the United Way will postpone the courses until the fall. Cummins said the local classes have had 16 graduates.

• Clearinghouse Coordinator Molly Dodge reported she will meet with a collaboration of churches in Seymour to discuss a joint food pantry, much like the House of Hope.

• The Clearinghouse Project was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Centra Foundation.

• The next Clearinghouse meeting is scheduled for March 11 at 8 a.m. at the River Valley Resources office in downtown Madison.